March 17 - The Damen Yichang Shipyard - a joint venture between Damen Shipyards Group and Sinotrans CSC - plans to expand its portfolio of vessels, as well as its geographical reach.

The Yichang yard, which is located on the Yangtze River and has always specialised in the construction of cargo vessels up to 15,000 dwt, says that while it will continue to build such vessels, there will now be an additional focus on other high-tech vessel types.

"We're looking at dredgers, pontoons and barges, LNG/LPG tankers and offshore support vessels, such as platform suppliers," said Damen Shipyards Group executive director Hans Voorneveld.

Since the decision was taken to increase the range, the yard has already begun building a number of specialised pontoons, while plans for dredgers are now being finalised.

Damen Yichang Shipyard's cargo vessels have historically been constructed for the Western European market, but Voorneveld confirmed that it will be extending its global reach with the yard's wider product range. "Already we are building pontoons for specialised projects in the Far East and Latin America," he said. 

Current capacity at the yard is sufficient for Damen to simultaneously construct ten pontoons along with two dredgers, LNG/LPG tankers or offshore support vessels.